COVID 19 and WARN Act

The COVID 19 pandemic has created a lot of challenges for a lot of people. Your life is very different now from what it was before the pandemic. You may have been let go from your job because your employer had to reduce the number of workers. You can learn about how COVID 19 and WARN act is affecting the workforce.

Defining What WARN Does

WARN Act stands for Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. It is a law that says employers must give their workers advanced notice if they are planning to lay off people in mass amounts or if they are going to be closing the business. The United States Department of Labor has laid out guidelines for the proper way to follow WARN.

Why Does WARN Act Happen?

WARN applies to a workforce of 100 or more employees who are working full time. Employers have to give them a notice in writing 60 calendar days in advanced if they are going to be closing or having mass layoffs.

The WARN Act happens when:

* There is a plant closing

* There are mass layoffs coming

* There are temporary layoffs coming

* Hours are being reduced

When an employer closes down a facility or is going to stop operations that WARN covers, either permanently or temporarily, it will be a problem if they did not give advanced notice. In order for the WARN Act to come into play, it needs to have affected 50 or more workers who are full time workers in one workplace. If somehow the plant that closes has fewer than 50 employees affected, but there are enough workers linked to the closing of operations that gets the number to about 50, it applies.

When COVID 19 and WARN Actthere are mass layoffs, it means there were 500 or more full time workers who were laid off from the same workplace within 30 days. Or there were between 50 to 499 full-time workers laid off that accounted for a third of the total active employees at a workplace. There are some extenuating circumstances that may have an employer liable if they have fewer than 50 full time workers laid off. There is something called “Employment Loss”, which can really be a few things, but it can help determine whether an employer is liable under the WARN Act. Temporary layoffs and reduced hours, a specific issue with COVID 19, come into play here.

WARN Act matters when there have been temporary layoffs that extend past six months that also meet the criteria that are similar to mass layoffs and closing plants. WARN also matters when there were temporary layoffs that were really only supposed to last less than six months but then, without warning,

extended to past six months. If your employer does this without having given you a reasonable warning when they first announced the layoffs, then they are going to be liable.

WARN Act applies when there is going to be 50 or more full-time workers who will be affected by the reduced hours. The hours would have to be reduced in half or more.

What Notice Are Employees Entitled to Have?

Employers have to give you advanced notice. They need to tell the non-union employees who will be affected by this big change coming, whether that change is layoffs or closing down business. They need to give notice to the state’s rapid response dislocated worker unit, as well as the local chief of the local government where there is going to be these mass layoffs and/or business closing up. For employees who are in unions, your employer is not required by WARN Act to give individuals notice of layoffs and closing business.

If advanced notice was not provided for you, that is not acceptable. You deserve to be treated lawfully. Don’t hesitate to give our office a call here at Friedman and Ranzenhofer. We want to know if you feel your employer has violated the WARN Act when they laid you off. It is not right and you deserve justice for this wrongdoing.

What Happens If Your Employer Violates the WARN Act?

If your employer violates the WARN Act, they are going to be legally liable for back pay and benefits for everyone who was wrongfully laid off. The penalties that they face can be as many as 60 days after each employee has been laid off and up to $500 of civil penalties that continues each day. If your employer wanted to avoid getting a daily penalty of $500, they could give back pay to every aggrieved employee but it must be done within three weeks of them having been let go.

Call Friedman & Ranzenhofer Today

If you need legal representation because you believe you have been unfairly let go at your workplace, please call our office today for strong and fair legal representation. You don’t deserve to get treated unlawfully. Call us today to learn more.

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